Contents Page 2, ‘Under no less a Penalty’ This month’s cover story looks at Penalties, which like any other thing in Freemasonry, are symbols and symbols only. This is an excellent article explaining the history of Penalties.
Page 5, ‘Let there be Light!’ What is light? This article looks at Masonic light.
Page 7, ‘The Caledonian Railway Lodge No.354.’ A short Historical sketch about this old Scottish Lodge.
Page 10, ‘The Masonic Encyclopaedia.’ This month we look at numbers. The final part of the Encyclopaedia.
Page 12, ‘The Old Tiler Talks’, “Masonry’s “Failure”, the eleventh in the series from Carl Claudy’s ‘Old Tiler Talks.’
Page 14, ‘Famous Freemasons’. Al Jolson, “You ain’t heard nuthin’ yet”
Page 17, ‘ The working tools of an EMason’ and ‘Let’s go to the Lodge tonight.’ One an article and the other a poem.
Page 18, ‘The Cable Tow’, A description of the cable tow.
In the Lectures website The article for this month is ‘Rough and Perfect’ [link]
Under No Less a Penalty Each time the detractors and enemies of Freemasonry endeavour to ridicule the order, they use as one of their strongest arguments that Freemasons are bound to their obligations or oaths by fear of having the penalties of these obligations enacted upon their persons. Not only they, but many of our own members who have never taken the time or trouble to study Freemasonry, believe that these symbolic Masonic penalties were, at some time in the distant past, actually perpetrated upon supposed traitors to the order. The case of William Morgan, supposedly murdered by Freemasons, which fact has never been proved, is given as an illustration of Masonic vengeance. Nothing could be further from the truth. These penalties, far from being used, were never intended to be actual punishment for Masonic offences. If Morgan were murdered by members of the fraternity, which few Masons can believe, these Masons, far from acting in accord with Masonic principles, were themselves guilty of a far greater offense than was Morgan. The order can stand many of these supposed exposes, but it cannot endure the misguided zeal of any who would take the law into their own hands regardless of the gravity of the Masonic offence which the victim of their vengeance has committed. The penalties, like any other thing in Freemasonry, are symbols and symbols only. They were taken, without any credit being given the author, directly from the criminal code of England during the middle ages. We read with
horror, of the inhuman tortures perpetrated upon the white invaders by the American Indians, but gentlemen were mutilating one another, and inventing the most barbaric tortures, long before the discovery of the American continents. Offences against the law in England, for example, before the break of Henry Vlll with the Roman church, were divided into two classes, treason and heresy. The punishment for treason was hanging in one of its various forms, while that for heresy was burning at the stake, either alive or after being strangled. The form which these two types of execution might take depended solely upon the vindictiveness of the judges and the inventiveness of the hangman. Casanova, in his memoirs, gives us a vivid description of the execution of a criminal who had attempted the assassination of the king. Though the man was of low mentality, and had little idea of what he had tried to do, Charles Samson, later to become infamous through his use of the guillotine, in the French Revolution, known as Samson the Barber, executed him in a savage way. Under the direction of the court, which fixed the punishment and the means of execution, he was branded, his right hand was burned off, the flesh was torn from his bones by red hot pincers, and finally he was torn apart by wild horses, one being attached to each limb, Casanova informs us that the manâ€™s hair turned white during this ordeal, which was prolonged over a number of hours. The usual penalty for treason in England, and until fairly modern times,
was for the guilty person to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. Brother H. L. Haywood and Brother James Craig when writing upon this subject, both state that the meaning of drawn is that the criminal was dragged, either over the ground or in some vehicle, to the place of execution. I can't question the Masonic knowledge of these two brethren, but apparently they have never worked in a poultry house. Drawing with a man means exactly the same thing that it does with a chicken, having the bowels taken from the body cavity. The criminal was usually dragged to the place of execution first at the tail of a horse, later on an ox hide, and in much later years in a cart. On arriving at the place of execution, the accused was given opportunity to make a final speech, sing a song, or even sometimes to do a dance. These were often printed and sold to spectators, at a price. The proceeds were given to the executioner. Vendors of lemonade, pies, cakes, and candies hawked their wares among the crowd and the whole execution was given a carnival air. The criminal was first hanged by the neck, but was cut down while he was still alive. His body was then severed in twain, (but not completely), his bowels taken from the body cavity, sometimes being thrown in his face, but more often burned to ashes and the ashes scattered by the four winds. The body was then chopped in quarters and these quarters were exposed at various points in the country by order of the king. Punishment for piracy was normally fixed by having the pirates hanged by the neck on the seashore during the ebb of the tide. The body was therefore left
in this place, neither sea nor shore until it had completely disintegrated. Normally these bodies were refused burial in the belief that the souls of the criminals would also suffer in the next world. Many times criminals were hanged, for the crime of stealing goods valued over a shilling, and even eight or nine year old children were hanged for the crime of stealing a loaf of bread. These bodies were normally left on the gibbet as a warning to other potential criminals. They were supposed to be devoured by the wild beasts of the field and the fowls of their. The fallacy of this reasoning can be seen in the simple fact that, at executions, pickpockets plied their trade without thought of the consequences. Tongues were pulled out with hot pincers for speaking either treason or heresy. Many times men were mutilated for the slightest offense, having their tongues torn out for making a jest, either about the king or about some other noble. Cutting throats was done as act of mercy in many of the ancient empires. We read in Caesar's commentaries that, when he crucified the pirates who had captured him and held him for ransom. He cut their throats after nailing them to the crosses in order to spare them further suffering. Hearts were torn from still living bodies for various offences and, many times, were thrown to the dogs or left lying on the ground to be devoured by the vultures. After this brief look at the criminal code of medieval times, we can assume that the founders of the Masonic institution
were aware of these punishments and incorporated some of them in the ritualistic work of the institution. They were not, however, intended to be thought of as actual punishment, but were, and are, merely symbols of the punishment of which a violator of his obligations would be deserving. When a man testifies and says, "May God strike me dead if I am not speaking the truth," he does not expect God to actually do this. When a small boy says, "By Golly," he does not do this in knowledge that, among the Cornish, the oath "By Goll" was considered strong testimony and that the one speaking placed his right hand (or"goll") in jeopardy for the truth of his oath. Freemasonry enacts only three penalties on its members, expulsion, suspension, or reprimand. When a man takes an obligation he does so not under the penalty of, but "under no less a penalty than that" meaning that he knows, should he violate these solemn obligations, he would be worthy of no better fate than that expressed in the wording, but under no fear that the institution would ever actually perform these symbolic penalties upon his body. A man's own knowledge of his perjury, and his faithlessness, are stronger punishments than any tortures which can ever be devised by another. If a man is expelled from all the rights and privileges of Freemasonry, the knowledge that he is cast out and despised by those who had lately called him brother, is a fearsome punishment. The Grand bodies which have expunged the penalties from Ancient Craft Masonry have yielded to the pressures of the anti-Masonic groups. Probably
these men, who have changed altered their rituals, believe that, at time, Freemasons were bound to order by fear of some strange outlandish punishment.
and one the and
If this is true, they have missed the point of the teachings of the "Royal Art.'' Freemasonry is, and always must be, ''the gentle craft.'' A man who comes into the order and who, having once joined, keeps the light obligations of the craft, does so, not for fear of physical punishment, but for love of the institution and of his fellow man. No stronger punishment could be devised for any man than that of ejecting him from the fellowship and love which have been given him by the fraternity. Under no less a penalty than that of, is a phrase to dwell upon. Many of us think that were we to be expelled from the fraternity, we would have received a much greater penalty than those expressed in the obligation. This article on Penalties was sourced from the How To Kick a Sacred Cow and Other Thrilling Tales From The Great Rebellion By Jerry Marsengill A publication of Iowa Research Lodge # 2 Second Print - December 1978
Let there be Light!
Have you ever been in a place of absolute darkness, a place where light does not exist and blackness is not just around you but in you? Perhaps you were in a cave with unknown tons of earth oppressing you from above. A place where the air seems so thick and ancient that you can hardly breathe and primordial fears gnaw at logic and reason. If you have had this experience you might be willing to agree that, next to life, the most remarkable, most generous of the Creator's gifts was light. That light was ordained to be important in the lives of men and all other life forms is a conclusion that seems readily apparent. A reading of Genesis 1:3, a verse familiar to all Masons, serves to enhance the idea. That light was destined to become the pre-eminent metaphorical symbol in Masonry is a line of reasoning worth following. But, what is light? For almost all life on this planet light is the common denominator. The exception lies buried miles below the surface of the ocean, an environment so alien to us that we can safely ignore it. Light is so universal that we tend to take it for granted. However, if light were to cease at this
moment, life itself would cease in a time too short to offer hope of any kind. Consider that with the ending of light green plants would no longer store the energy or produce the oxygen that all life depends on. Truly the earth would be a place of darkness and fear would be upon the face of man. All the energy on this planet with the exception of nuclear energy comes from light. Without the sun's light in a matter of days earth would be a frozen lifeless ball with temperatures moving towards absolute zero. Other examples of energy that can be traced to light are electricity, that stored in coal and oil, and the energy stored in glucose by green plants. There are others, but perhaps one detailed example will make this point clear. Above the waters of the ocean, the sun shines with a force far beyond man's making, and an invisible gas rises from the surface. This collects in the upper atmosphere, forming clouds. These argosies of moisture drift over land and when they come to mountain ranges, they rise, and following immutable laws of physics, they release droplets of water. This rain eventually gathers together to form rivers that seek to return the water to its birthplace. Man dams rivers and uses the trapped water to turn turbines and generators, and produces electricity. And whence did it come? A scientist might tend to say from a transformation of energy; but it would be simpler and just as correct to say it came from light. So, once again, what is light? For centuries man has pondered the question
found in the book of Job, 38:19 "Where is the way where light dwelleth?" Anciently it was held that vision was the result of something flowing from the eyes to an object and then returning with the appropriate perception. The followers of Plato came up with a kind of triple play in which sight was the result of streams of material flowing from the sun, an object, and the eye. In the eleventh century the great medieval scientist, al-Hasan Ibn al-Haythem, in his book, Optics, developed the idea that sight resulted from emissions of light from an object that travelled to the eyes. Since that time, from DaVinci to Newton to modern physicists, scientists have built upon this emission theory. The modern theory of light, greatly simplified, traces the source of light to that fundamental particle of matter - the atom. Atoms contain energy, and can gain or lose energy. If an atom gains energy above its normal level it is said to be excited. A white hot poker would be a simple example of iron atoms that have gained energy above the normal. An atom cannot maintain an excited state, so it loses energy. Atoms release this extra energy in tiny bundles called photons, and a stream of photons is what we call light. Our white hot poker is giving off a lot of light, actually temporary extra energy, and as it cools the amount of light energy given off becomes less and less as more and more atoms return to normal. Over the centuries men have recognized that light possesses both physical and spiritual importance. Francis Bacon
wrote: "The first creation of God was the light of the senses, the last was the light of reason." Such reasoning may explain why our Masonic forebears chose to make light such an important part of a Mason's life. But, what kind of light? Well, not exactly that which is formed from flowing photons. That kind is important for by it we can search the Great Light of Masonry; by it we can see our working tools and erect the edifice of our labors; and by it we see our brethren and share in the rich brotherhood they offer to us. But there is another kind of light, and the poet Coleridge described it best when he wrote: "I feel and seek the light I cannot see." Perhaps it is this feeling and this search for something not physical, but still existent, that brings men to Masonry in the first place. And perhaps it is this light that we seek all our lives as Masons. All our lives because it is very difficult to hold on to light, for if it is not continuously generated it will flicker and fade. Like an atom that has been raised to a new energy level and then returns to its original state, a Mason can lose his excitement for Masonry, for that light we cannot see, only feel, the light of reason. No man would willingly spend his life in darkness and so when next a Master speaks those words, "let there be light," be reminded that he is calling forth a singularly wondrous gift from both God and the mind of man. No wonder, as a Masonic symbol, light is in the paramount position. This article by Veto S. Hartz was sourced from the 1990 edition of The Philalethes.
The Caledonian Railway Lodge No.354. The Caledonian Railway Lodge was constituted as a direct result of the industrial revolution. Its conception was in its self a revolution in Freemasonry and was required to meet the needs of existing brethren. Several members of the Craft were employed in the building of the Caledonian Railway, moving slowly from Carlisle to Edinburgh with a branch line to Glasgow. Understandably they could not attend their own or any other lodge easily. Brethren petitioned Grand Lodge in Edinburgh on the 5th February 1849 to grant a charter to hold and constitute meetings anywhere on Caledonian Railway Property. This ' moveable' or 'travelling'; the petition was referred with delegated powers for full discussion to Grand Committee and was granted on the 8th February 1849. This charter as well as being 'moveable' was granted restricting membership solely to those employed on the railway when initiated. This was, and still is unique in Scotland. The Lodge was treated as a Metropolitan Lodge under the supervision of Grand Lodge. It thrived and attracted 61 initiates before becoming dormant for some unknown reason in 1854. Unfortunately the first minute book was destroyed by dampness, however the remainder are intact and provide fascinating reading beyond what space allows here.
In 1859 a railway man, Bro. Donald Campbell one of the first to be initiated in the lodge had become associated with St Marks No.102 and had risen to the rank of Worshipful Substitute Provincial Grand Master of Glasgow. On 30th May he and other brethren from St. Marks reconstituted the lodge. The lodge thereafter continued to meet in St. Marks premises in Buchanan Street, Glasgow as one of 15 lodges in the Province of Glasgow. Many high ranking railway men were initiated and gradually businessmen, military men and local politicians became members. Employment on the railway was apparently no longer mandatory although anecdotal information suggests that applicants were facilitated a few hours working on the railway in order to meet the qualification. The lodge began developing internationally in 1862 when two Danish seamen were initiated into the lodge and along with a third Dane were ' passed' and 'raised' on the same night. This event was extraordinary however; brethren of the lodge like Freemasonry in general are documented as having settled in the four quarters of the globe. The lodge quickly became a respected part of Victorian Society in Glasgow and by 1863 it was claimed the lodge was "unequalled, in Scotland regarding money matters". This was somewhat demonstrated in 1898 when the lodge became one of the principal investors in the New Masonic Halls Company, purchasing premises at 100 West Regent Street, in Glasgow. This was to become the lodge's home for three-quarters of a century as well as home for the Provincial Grand Lodge of Glasgow.
Service and charity appropriately dominate the lodge history. In 1901 the lodge created a specific new Office of Benevolent Fund Treasurer to manage funds set aside for needy brethren and their dependants and to this day significant funds are maintained for benevolence. Caledonian Railway brethren have served the country well in the armed forces, merchant marine and public office. There is evidence of members having served in India, Africa as well as the Fist and Second World wars. In particular Right Worshipful Master Bro. Thomas Thomson resigned his office in 1940 when he joined the army. In his absence the brethren literally endured ' The Blitz' during meetings. Brethren who remained at home always managed to serve in other ways. In 1918 food parcels were sent to brethren who were prisoners of War in Germany. In the same year a Brother presented a 'Magic Lantern Lecture on his service with the 52nd Lowland Division in Gallipoli, Egypt and Palestine' to the people of Glasgow at the St. Andrews Hall, which raised the huge sum of ÂŁ5000 for the Red Cross. The lodge has also served the Craft well; in particular the Provincial Grand Lodge of Glasgow with many Past Masters as members and holding high office. Notably, Brother Donald Campbell our first Substitute Provincial Grand Master, Brother Montgomery Neilson, Provincial Grand Master 1869 -1880 and in living memory Brother Andrew Petrie, Substitute Provincial Grand Master and Brother Donald McLean, Past Provincial Senior Warden.
In 1949 the lodge picked itself up after the war and welcomed home its brethren . It continued to be highly regarded as can be seen in the records of the centenary celebration which was attended by The Most Worshipful Grand Master Mason The Earl of Galloway and representatives of 67 lodges in the Province. In the same year, while caring for its members and with an eye on the future created a special collection at each meeting for a "kiddies treat". This has continued to the present day funding events, such as theatre visits or trips to the seaside for children and families of brethren. This has been very fruitful as many Past Masters remember going 'Doon The Watter' as children. Regrettably in 1976 the building at 100 West Regent Street deteriorated to an unsafe condition and the lodge were sadly required to vacate. It was the end of an era. The lodge took up residence at Kelvinhaugh in Glasgow for three years before a few months return to West Regent Street. In 1980 the building finally became uneconomical and the lodge, although deeply regrets having to move, is grateful to Lodge Glasgow at Glasgow for a tenancy at 214 Stevenson Street which has lasted twenty years to date. Under the leadership of 113 Masters who have passed the original Jewel from one to another, the 'Caley' throughout the 150 years has continued to prosper. Moving on from its initial function at the completion of the railway, becoming at times highly influential in the Province of Glasgow. The lodge has survived wars, depressions and a modern society of godlessness and self-interest over
others. Undoubtedly the current five or six initiates a year pale into insignificance with the historic five or more a meeting. However, the ' Caley' membership is fiercely proud of the lodge and the maxim of 'quality not quantity' remains valid. Nowadays it is the brethren and not the charter that does the travelling, with members travelling regularly to regular meetings from Ayrshire, Dunbartonshire Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire and London, with the odd life member popping in from Australia and Hong Kong. The lodge has long established ties with many other lodges within and out with the province which in the early days necessitated journeys by train to Dundee and Rosyth. More recently, as part of the Caledonian Lodges Annual Gathering, the lodge travels as far a field as Dumfries and Inverness. As the lodge moves forward into the new millennium the latest initiate, Brother Graham Barrie, role No. 4785 has every reason to be enthusiastic and optimistic about the future of the lodge as Brother Robert Sinclair, the first Founder Member and Right Worshipful Master. By William M. Gray P.M. 354 This short history of the Caledonian Railway Lodge No.354 was extracted by the Editor from the Website of Lodge 354. Many thanks go to the Lodge for allowing me to use it in the newsletter.
Symbolism Two features of Freemasonry are particularly prominent, its teachings of morality by means of symbolism, and the antiquity of its symbols. A ritual was used in the Ancient Mysteries which many Masons believe to be predecessors of the Freemasonry of today, and from which many of our forms and ceremonies may have been either directly or indirectly derived. It contained a dialogue, darkness, light, death and resurrection. In the times in which the Ancient Mysteries flourished, the most important truths of science as well as morality were taught to the qualified and were veiled from the multitude by symbolic teaching. The square and compasses used in China 500 B.C. as emblems of morality, and the tools of Speculative Masonry, found in the foundation of Cleopatra's Needle, are evidences of the age of masonic symbolism. The Masons may have borrowed the symbolism of the original users and adapted it to the present as well as they could with limited knowledge of its original significance, or it may have come down to them through unbroken sources. One of the hidden mysteries of ancient Freemasonry is that symbolism which teaches that character can be built or developed in only one way, and that is by doing good to others. It is hidden from those who are unworthy to receive it but it unveils itself to those who seek truth, ask for light, and knock at the door of their better nature.
The Masonic Encyclopaedia Numbersâ€™
Three The pre-eminent number for Craft Masonry (Craft Masonry = the first three degrees, namely Entered Apprentice, Fellow of Craft and Master Mason. In the three Craft degrees there are: three make a lodge three principal officers three original Grand Masters three supporting pillars three lesser lights three greater lights three movable jewels three immovable jewels three raps three gates three steps on the Master's Carpets A special meaning for three in the 47th Problem of Euclid
Four Four is the tetrad or Quaternary of the Pythagoreans! and it is a sacred number in the advanced Degrees. The Pythagoreans called it a perfect number, and hence it has been adopted as a sacred number in the Degree of Perfect Master. In many nations of antiquity the name of God consists of four letters, as the Adad, of the Syrians, the Amum of the Egyptians, the efos of the Greeks, the Deus of the Romans, and preeminently the Tetragrammaton or fourlettered name of the Jews. But in Symbolic Freemasonry this number has no special significance.
Five Among the Pythagoreans five was a mystical number, because it was formed by the union of the first even number and the first odd, rejecting unity; and hence it symbolized the mixed conditions of order and disorder, happiness and misfortune, life and death. The same union of the odd and even, or male and female, numbers made it the symbol of marriage. Among the Greeks it was a symbol of the world, because, says Diodorus, it represented ether and the four elements. It was a sacred round number among the Hebrews. the five signs the five-pointed star the pentagon (five-sided figure) the five Points of Fellowship, the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle (the highest number in a five, four, three ratio)
Seven The symbolic Seven is to be found in a hundred ways over the whole Masonic system." This statement is so true and the discovery of those many references is so interesting and profitable to the student that no attempt is made here to gather them together. But no student who neglects to make an effort to discover them can get out of Masonry all that it has to offer him. Seven is referred to in practically all of the ancient religions. There were seven altars before the god Mithras. In the Persian Mysteries there were seven caverns. The Goths had seven Deities and in the Gothic Mysteries the
candidate met with seven obstructions. References in the Scriptures to Seven are almost innumerable. To cite but a very few:-Noah had seven days notice of the commencement of the Deluge. The clean beasts were taken into the ark by sevens. The ark came to rest on Mt. Ararat in the seventh month. The intervals between the dispatching of the doves from the ark were seven days each. Solomon was seven years building the Temple. And the Temple was dedicated in the seventh month, the feast lasting seven days.
Eight Among the Pythagoreans the number eight was esteemed as the first cube, being formed by the continued multiplication of 2 by 2 by 2, and signified friendship, prudence, counsel, and justice; and, as the cube or reduplication of the first even number, it was made to refer to the primitive law of nature, which supposes all men to be equal.
Eleven In the Prestonian lectures, eleven was a mystical number, and was the final series of steps in the winding stairs of the Fellow Craft, which were said to consist of 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11. The eleven was referred to the eleven apostles after the defection of Judas, and to the eleven sons of Jacob after Joseph went into Egypt. But when the lectures were revived by Henning, the eleven was struck out. In Templar Freemasonry, however, eleven is still significant as being the constitutional number required to open a Commandery; and here it is
evidently allusive of the eleven true disciples.
Magic Square 4
A magic square is a series of numbers arranged in an equal number of cells constituting a square figure, the enumeration of all of whose columns, vertically, horizontally and diagonally, wilt give the same sum. The Oriental philosophers, and especially the Jewish Talmudists, have indulged in many fanciful speculations in reference to these magic squares, many of which were considered as talismans. The accompanying figure of nine squares containing the nine digits so arranged as to make fifteen when counted in every way, was of peculiar import. There was no talisman more sacred than this among the Orientalists, when arranged as above. Thus designed, they called it by the name of the planet Saturn, ZaHaL, because the sum of the 9 digits in the square was equal to 45 (1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8 +g) which is the numerical value of the letters in the word ZaHaL, in the Arabic alphabet. The talmudists also esteemed it as a sacred talisman because 15 is the numerical value of the letters of the word JaH, which is one of the forms of the Tetragrammaton.
to lodge in the car. After we had left he said: 'Of course you know I'm not really going to lodge! Got a hen on! Nice fat lil' poker game. Want to sit in?' I told him I didn't. But I took him to his 'nice fat lil' game!' Now, there is a man who tells his family he is going to lodge, and then plays poker. I say Masonry has failed with him. It hasn't even taught him to tell the truth!"
Masonry’s “Failure” "Why does Masonry fail so much?" puzzled the New Brother, dropping into a chair beside the Old Tiler in the anteroom. "I didn't know it did," commented the Old Tiler. "But then, I'm an old man and my eyes are not very good. Maybe I don't see clearly any more. Tell me about it." "Oh, you see well enough! You just don't want to admit that the order to the service of which you have devoted so much time and thought is just a failure!" "Is that so!" The Old Tiler seemed surprised. "You interest me! But pity my foibles and tell me your side of it!" "Masonry fails because it doesn't interest men sufficiently to make them practice what they preach. I was at Jones' house tonight. Went to bring him
"Remember Roberts? He was arrested last week for forgery. He has been a member for several years. Yet Masonry couldn't teach him to be honest. There was Williamson, who tried to kill his doctor; and Burton who has been defending an ugly divorce suit...they are lodge members, but Masonry didn't teach them to be what they ought to be. And say...did you hear about Larson? Well..." the New Brother lowered his voice. "It's being whispered about that..." He leaned over to talk in the Old Tilers ear. "Now, that isn't Masonry...it's a violation of all his obligations. So I say Masonry has failed with him. What do you say?" "Yes, Masonry failed to make an impression on these men to suit you, even as Masonry has failed to make an impression on you to suit me!" snapped the Old Tiler. "That last remark you made was an unadulterated scandal! Does Masonry teach you to talk scandal? But never mind that! Let me dig a few weeds out of the scrubby, illtended, and unwatered garden you miscall your mind and see if we can't get it ready to grow one straight thought!
"I know Jones. He is a member of the city club, the country club, Dr. Parkin's church, and a luncheon club. Neither church nor luncheon club teach deception or foster lies. Both instruct in morality, one by precept, the other by practice. By what right do you blame Masonry for Jones' failure to tell the truth, any more than the church or the luncheon club? Is Jones' mother to blame because she didn't teach her boy never to tell a lie? How about his Sunday School teacher and his wife? Are they to blame? If not, why is Masonry to blame? "Roberts has been accused of forgery. I don't know whether he is guilty or not. Williamson seems to have had some real justification for feeling enmity toward his doctor, although nothing justifies murder, of course. Burton may be a sinner or sinned against...I don't know. As for Larson, it will take more than your whispers of scandal to make me believe ill of a brother until I know something. "But let us suppose Roberts a forger, Williamson a murderer, Burton a Don Juan. All these men grew up, went to school, got out in the world, joined clubs, societies, orders, became Masons, members of a church...Why pick on Masonry as the failure when these men go wrong? Is it just? If the church of God can't keep a man straight how can Masonry be expected to? "It is rankly unjust to blame Christ for the failures of those who profess to follow Him. Was it Christ's fault that Peter denied Him and Judas betrayed Him? Was it the fault of the religion
they professed? Or was it the fault of the man, the character, the up-bringing, the times? "Men fail, and fall, and rise and try again...or fall and stay in the mud. To those who rise Masonry has a helping hand to extend. To those who fail and stay fallen, she has charity. Not hers the fault that humanity is frail. She hold the torch; if they close their eyes to its radiance and refuse to see the narrow path that the torch illumines, will you blame the torch? "Masonry does not fail men. Men fail Masonry. Masonry has the teachings, the thought, the ennobling influence, the example to set, the vision to show those who have eyes to see. If they close their hearts to the ennobling influence, will not profit by the example and shut their eyes to the vision, is that the fault of Masonry? "You, my brother, have just talked scandal without proof; a whispered slander against the good name of a Mason. Has Masonry failed with you that it has not taught you tolerance, brotherly love, reticence, charity of thought? Or is the failure in you as it may be within these men you mention?" "The Old Tiler waited. The New Brother hung his head. At last he spoke. "I am most properly rebuked. How shall I make amends?" "A great teacher said to you and all like you and to me and all like me; 'Go, and sin no more!'" answered the Old Tiler reverently. This is the eleventh article in this regular feature, â€˜The Old Tiler Talks,â€™ each month we will publish in the newsletter one of these interesting and informative pieces by Carl Claudy
Famous Freemasons Al Jolson Entertainer and Mason
The man we know as Al Jolson, the world's greatest entertainer, was born Asa Yoelson in the little Lithuanian village of Seredzius. His actual date of birth is unknown even to him, so he chose-yes, chose-May 26, 1886, as his birthday. His father and grandfather were both cantors, and Asa was expected to carry on the family tradition of singing in synagogue and leading the congregation in prayer. His father, Moshe, immigrated to America in 1890, and his family joined him in Washington, D.C., four years later. Asa's mother died in 1894, leaving the family at the mercy of an over strict and demanding father. There had obviously been a strong bond between Asa and his
mother, which was reflected throughout his musical career. Asa and his older brother, Hirsch, began singing for pocket change wherever anyone would listen. Shortly after, Asa changed his name to Al Joelson, and his brother was then Harry Joelson. They later shortened it to Jolson. But to his close friends and fans, he was to be called "Jolie." At the age of 12, Al Jolson had already performed with a carnival, a circus, and had been a mascot for U.S. soldiers during the Spanish-American War. Once he was part of a risquĂŠ vaudeville show and later joined up with a tenor, Fred G. Moore. At the age of 14, Al and his brother, now called Harry, had an act called "The Hebrew and the Cadet." Its ethnic humour would, no doubt, be offensive today. It was not until 1903 that the Al Jolson we would recognize today emerged when he joined Joe Palmer's "Merry Minstrel" group. It was with these minstrels that Al did his first blackface, with which he was to be identified for the rest of his life. At the age of 19, he got his first solo with the minstrels and sang such songs as "Who Paid the Rent for Mrs. Rip Van Winkle While Mr. Van Winkle Was Away." During the 1906 earthquake, Jolson made a reputation for himself when he donated his time to sing in San Francisco's rubble-filled streets. It was at this time he coined the phrase, "You ain't heard nothin' yet," which he would use for the remainder of his life. In June of 1913, Brothers Al Jolson, John H. Bunny, Charles Emmet, David
Stamper, and Charles J. Dryden were passed in the Fellow Craft Degree. All of these individuals were widely recognized in the entertainment field. On July 13, 1913, Al Jolson was raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason in St. Ceciles Lodge No. 568, New York. Jolson is listed in the Lodge log as Albert Jolson. In 1918, Jolson did a short film for the Vitagraph Film Company as a benefit for the Patrolman's Benevolent Association (PBA) fund for the children of policemen killed in service. The agreement was that all proceeds were to be given to the PBA. This film was shown one time during a special police performance. But Al found out that only 40% of the proceeds went to the PBA and was so upset that he ordered the film destroyed. Jolie was sensitive to the needs of crippled and disabled persons. In one instance, he paid for an operation that enabled a child to use his legs again. He gave generously to numerous worthy causes such as building a church for Indians in California. In his will, he left $3 million to charity. Friends and associates in show business often considered Jolson a ruthless man, but he obviously had a soft heart somewhere. I believe it is meaningful that, in the manner expected of a true Mason, he insisted that his many kind and altruistic acts be kept secret. During the 1929 market crash, Jolson lost over $4 million, but he still had a veritable fortune left and was benevolent enough to loan money to friends that had lost everything.
Songwriters Irving Caesar and George Gershwin wrote the song, "Swanee" during this time, but it met with limited success. However, Jolson recorded the song and made it an instant hit-such was the power of Jolson's talent and popularity. His name appeared on many songs at that time, but he never contributed to the writing of them. Al insisted that his name be included because his singing style was a major factor in the song's success. Obviously, he was right. Bro. Jolson performed many firsts during his lengthy and prosperous career. He made the first pilot TV appearance, he was the first to entertain the troops in three wars, he recorded the first successful LP record in Britain, and he was the first to perform a full Broadway tour. However, the accomplishment most remembered is his starring role in the first sound movie, The Jazz Singer, in 1927. His song "Mother I Still Have You" has the distinction of being the first song ever to be composed especially for a movie. Bro. Jolson made numerous motion pictures. By today's standards, they probably appear corny, but in his day they were very successful. He was so widely recognized that caricatures of Jolson appeared in cartoons galore. Most of Jolson's successful acts were in blackface. Although this is considered politically incorrect today, it was believed to be appropriate in his era. It is widely believed that Al was basically a shy individual who could let himself go when in blackface. I believe that Jolie had a lot of respect and admiration for blacks. Although many blacks today resent him for his use of blackface, most
blacks at that time did not. When Jolson died, the President of the Negro Actors Guild, Noble Sissle, represented his organization at Jolson's funeral. Al Jolson married four times, but like so many people in entertainment, marriage did not stick. His first marriage was to Henrietta Keller, a vaudeville dancer, and his second was to Ethel Delmar, an actress. These quickly ended in divorce. His third marriage was to Ruby Keeler, a chorus girl in "Texas" Guinnan's speakeasy. They adopted one son and named him "Sonny" after Jolson's hit song. All of his wives claimed that they could not contend with Al's "mistress," his love of singing. This was undoubtedly true. Jolson was a largerthan-life figure and possessed the need and energy to be the best. He could never accept second place. During one of his U.S.O. shows, Al contracted malaria and had to have one lung removed. It was during his stay in the hospital that he met a lovely nurse, Erle Galbraith, and he married her in 1945. Jolson experienced a lessening of popularity in the 1930s, and Bing Crosby rose to be the number one singer. Al still had work, but it was no longer top billing. However, in 1944 Al got a new lease on life when Harry Cohn decided to make The Jolson Story movie. Al could see nobody in the role of Jolson other than himself and fought desperately for the part. But he was now a balding man in his 60s, and Columbia pictures gave the role to aspiring actor Larry Parks. Jolie himself sang all the songs, but Jolson was not happy with just doing the songs. He insisted on actually being in the movie. As a result, the scene with Jolson singing "Swanee"
was actually Jolson in blackface, and it was shot at a distance so nobody would notice. The movie opened in 1946 and was a box-office hit, winning Larry Parks an Oscar nomination for best actor. Jolson's voice had mellowed and was so good that all of his songs were re-recorded and once again released. Jolson was back as the nation's top singer, followed by Bing Crosby, Perry Como, and Frank Sinatra. A sequel to the film, named Jolson Sings Again, was equally successful. As before, Jolson insisted on being somewhere in the movie. During the "You Made Me Love You" sequence, he can be seen walking and wearing a fedora. Actor Larry Parks became a victim of McCarthyism and was destined never to have another film. But Jolie was once again king of the musical mountain. Jolie and Erle Galbraith adopted two children: Asa Albert Jolson Jr., who was last reported to be in the music business in Nashville, Tennessee, and a daughter, Alicia. Alicia was mentally retarded and had to be institutionalized. She is now deceased. Jolie was now in his 60s, but his voice was better than ever. All of his old songs-now re-recorded-along with many new songs, sold millions. Al was in demand again and gave many concerts in New York City. He also made frequent guest appearances on radio. He hosted his own radio show, The Kraft Music Hall, from 1947 to 1949 and was looking forward to signing a TV contract with CBS, but Korea happened. Al was eager to sing once again for the
troops and called then President and Ill. Bro. Harry S. Truman, 33Â°, to volunteer. When Truman told him there were no funds, Jolson paid his own way. He performed in 42 shows for the troops in a mere seven days. The strain was too much for him. He fell ill and had to return home. On October 23, 1950, in San Francisco, Brother Al Jolson had a heart attack and died. We lost the world's greatest entertainer. Jolson was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Merit for his many overseas tours with the U.S.O. This bio by Bro John A. Gunn was sourced from Knight Templar magazine 1998.
The Working Tools of an E-Mason I now present you with the working tools of an E-mason.... They are the mouse. The keyboard. And the internet. The mouse is to move the cursor on the screen, the keyboard to input the data, and the internet to publish in cyber space. But as we are not all computer nerds, but Free and Accepted E-Masons, We use these tools to obtain more Masonic light and to show us the true meaning and value of E-Masons. And thus we apply them..... The mouse teaches us to keep within the bounds of the screen. A square wherein we all meet on the level.
The keyboard is to show us that through effective communication we can achieve a better understanding of each other and the rest of mankind. The internet is to teach us that even when we are alone, or in the most remote part of the globe, we may meet, greet and gain moral sustenance and support from each other from our Ancient and Honourable Fraternity.
Letâ€™s go to the Lodge tonight! My brother, let's go to Lodge tonight; You haven't been for years. Let's don our Lambskin Apron white And sit among our peers. I feel a kind of longing, see, to climb those creaky stairs; I know it'll be a thrill for me to lay aside my cares. We'll meet the Tyler at the door and though he'll hesitate, we'll hear him say just as before, "Come in or you'll be late." I'd like to get out on the floor-Come on, let's get in line; I want to face the East once more And give the same old sign. I want to hear the gavel rap the Craftsmen to attention and see the Master don his cap; a night without dissention. So come! Pass up that picture show, or your wrestling bout or fight; Switch off that TV set! Let's go! Let's go to Lodge tonight.
The Cable Tow
The Cable Tow as a measure of length is not known outside Freemasonry today, and has generated much fruitless discussion. The length of which has many interpretations. A ‘cables length’ is variously given as 100, 200, and 300 fathoms (which equate to 200, 240 and 640 yards) – (183 – 248 meters). The views made by Dr. Oliver about the 18th century were arbitrary and unpractical in that every brother was expected to attend his lodge within the length of his cable tow, then believed to be three miles. To paraphrase an irregular print of 1776, ‘as a cable tow is 3 miles long, if a brother is that distance away he may be excused his absence….’ In respect of the Candidate it is probable that the tow has evolved from ancient mysteries where the cable tow or halter was the means to lead a Candidate symbolically in a style of bondage through part of the ceremony. The wearing of the cable tow may be considered at variance with the fundamental tenet that the Candidate must be a free man. This halter signifies “bondage” to a state of ignorance and is removed when the Obligation has been taken. An Irish working seems to support this symbolism as the Candidate wears the sign of servitude only until he is about to take the Obligation. The Tow is then removed and thrown down with contempt behind him. The Conductor (or Deacon) then declares that only a free man can be made a freemason – and the ceremony continues. The Officers collars may be remnants of the ‘cable tow’! Nowadays the Candidates obligation referring to his ‘cable tow’ simply means a promise to attend the lodge if within his power to do so: no specific distance is involved. The newsletter is privileged to be allowed to reproduce the above article by Bro. John Cane PPG Supt Wks (Surrey) from his booklet Why? Coming to Terms with Freemasonry. John is a subscriber to the newsletter, and his articles from the booklet will become a monthly regular feature in the newsletter, thanks John.
Until next month, Keep the faith! The Editor.
Published on May 31, 2012